Jakarta, (ANTARA News) - By deciding to use its right of inquiry on the government`s fuel oil pricing policy, the House of Representatives (DPR) can now summon anyone involved in the production, distribution and consumption of fuel oils for questioning, one of the legislators behind the initiative said.
Ario Bimo, a member of the Indonesian Demcoracy Party-Struggle (PDI-P) faction in the House explained the significance of the House`s initiative here on Wednesday.
"It means the House now has the authority to investigate the government`s policies on the management of fuel oils , including its policy of raising the fuel oil prices by 28.7 percent last May," he said.
Through the inquiry, it was hoped the government`s policies on the national oil industry and trade which so far had always tended to be secretive or full of cover-ups could be made transparent and accountable to the public at large, he said.
Bima said he was convinced, if only state oil company Pertamina had been able to increase the country`s petroleum lifting to a level adjusted to the national neeads, Indonesia would not have needed to import crude oil at continuously increasing prices.
"And with domestic oul production equaling the country`s needs, there would have been no need to raise the fuel oil prices. But in reality, efforts to increase petroleum lifting failed or were never made.Domestic crude production even dropped from year to year and as a consequence, high-priced oil continued to be imported creating an increasing burden on the state budget," he said.
Meanwhile, the importation of oil at prices that increasingly drained the people`s and state`s financial resources proved only to benefit traders, brokers and rent-seekers.
"Ironaically, it was discovered that the aggregate of Indonesia`s oil production and the volume it is importing was higher than the domestic need. This raises the question : where did the balance or the unused oil stocks go," Bimo said.
Also, in regard to the crude oil and fuel oil imports the governent or Pertamina had had to resort to, there had never been transparent explanations about the volumes imported, the prices paid, the cost of processing the imported crude, and what the most appropriate selling prices actually were, he added.
"In addition, the overseas oil purchases were made through the services of brokers making the purchasing prices higher then they could be," Bimo said. (*)